Antisemitism in Wales: Jewish leaders call for change after rise in abusive behaviour

Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

The row over antisemitism in the Labour party has been ongoing for nearly three years.

Some argue it has stemmed from the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's links with certain groups.

In August, Mr Corbyn apologised for appearing at a 2010 event at which a Holocaust survivor compared Israel to Nazism.

Just last week, the Jewish Labour movement warned Mr Corbyn that he needs to do more to tackle antisemitism or risk splitting Labour's main Jewish group away from the party.

However, some of Mr Corbyn's supporters said the problem has been exaggerated and is being used as an attempt to tarnish the Labour leader's reputation.

Credit: PA Images

In Wales, reports of antisemitism have nearly doubled in the past year, according to a charity for the safety of Jews.

In 2017, there were six reports of abusive behaviour towards Jews in Wales to Community Security Trust (CST). Last year, this rose to 10 reports. In the UK, antisemitic hate incidents reached a record high.

Abusive behaviour can include verbal or written abuse, antisemitic letters, emails or text messages, tweets or social media comments and graffiti.

CST said they only keep a record of antisemitic incidents that victims or witnesses report to them, so the figures in Wales do not include Jenny Rathbone AM's comments made last year.

Last November, the Jewish Chronicle published a recording of Welsh Assembly Member Jenny Rathbone suggesting Jewish people's security fears could be "in their own heads". It followed increased security at a synagogue in the Cyncoed area of Cardiff.

Members of the South Wales Jewish Representative Council said their concerns about safety are very serious. Security has been increased at synagogues and Jewish cemeteries following an attack on a cemetery in Cardiff.

Jewish leader Laurence Kahn said his family have left the Labour party because of antisemitism. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales
Stanley discovered that two of his great-aunt's gravestones were damaged. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales
Stanley said his great-aunt Doren Roden's gravestone was pushed over in an attack. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

At the end of the month, Jenny Rathbone AM will be meeting with the South Wales Jewish Representative Council to discuss moving forward.

Stanley hopes to build bridges with Ms Jenny Rathbone. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

In response to her previous comments, Ms Rathbone apologised and said she hopes her upcoming meeting will her allow to explore what role she can play in "promoting community cohesion".

Welsh Labour Grassroots (WLG) recently came under criticism for defending Labour MP Chris Williamson's comments that Labour politicians have often been too quick to accept questionable claims about the scale of the problem. WLG called his suspension "unfair and unnecessary".

Steven Davidson is a Jewish member of WLG from the Cardiff Central area.

Steven said the Labour party is anti-racist "through and through". Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Secretary of Welsh Labour Grassroots Darren Williams said antisemitism is "abhorrent" and has "no place in the Labour party".

He said the party have introduced a new Code of Conduct which makes it clearer what standards of behaviour it expects from its members and training on the issue is being rolled out.